Monday, July 14, 2008

A Sharia Enterprise

We’ve posted here previously about “sharia finance”, the body of fiscal customs and practices that are supposedly mandated by the Koran and required of all observant Muslims. The most well-known of these rules is the Koranic proscription of interest in the lending of money.

Ten Dollar Jihad

Needless to say, there is no possibility of designing a functional system of credit unless the lender can make a profit on his loans. If the amount repaid to him is greater than the amount he lends, most of us would call the difference “interest”.

But Islamic law doesn’t see it this way, and Muslims have devised elaborate financial shell games to get around their own rules. The common practice is for a Muslim creditor to buy a property and then resell it to the borrower at an inflated rate. The net result is the same — the lender makes money on the deal — but his profit is not called “interest”.

“OK,” you say, “so what’s the big deal? Muslims want to play this little game with money and not call it ‘interest’. Why should we care?”

A couple of reasons:

#1 The bending of the law. Because the transaction involves a pair of contractual sales, it lies outside the laws that govern interest rates. The two transactions may be instantaneous — the sale and re-purchase occur virtually simultaneously — but the price difference may be considerable. Since “interest” is not involved, the result evades the letter of the law, but the effective interest rate may well be extortionate.
#2 The camel’s nose. Islamic scripture allows Muslims to follow infidel laws when they live in places where Muslims are in the minority and sharia is not enforced. Secular Muslims in the West may be glad of this rule — they can live like normal people and still be “Muslims”. But once sharia is allowed where they live, they are bound to abide by it, or face severe social pressure, ostracism, or even physical threats for not doing so. By allowing the charade of “Islamic finance”, we effectively erode the freedoms of Muslims who would otherwise adapt to Western ways.

Unfortunately for the Counterjihad, Western financial institutions stand to make a lot of money from the introduction of sharia finance. The pressure in favor of it — given public indifference and ignorance — is enormous. The lonely and dedicated souls who testify against it in congressional hearings on Capitol Hill are fighting a rearguard battle.

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I bring all this up because of an incident that occurred in Iowa in the wake of the recent devastating floods. According to Breitbart:
- - - - - - - - -
Religion throws wrinkle into Iowa flood recovery

Tayeeb Foods Inc. always enjoyed a modest profit, but Nazar Osman said running his six-year-old Sudanese grocery was never about the money.

Now the survival of his store in Coralville depends on finding money, but unlike hundreds of other small Iowa businesses affected by last month’s flooding Osman can’t accept low-interest loans from the federal Small Business Administration.

Like many Muslims, he takes a strict interpretation of the Quran’s prohibition against paying interest.

The first question that occurs to me when reading this is: What motivates Mr. Osman’s “strict interpretation”?

Is he simply a fervent believer? Is he a Muslim Brotherhood operative? Or is he being pressured by someone in his community, someone who is not mentioned in these news stories?

The problem is that no one is the mainstream media is likely to pursue any of these questions. These are “diversity” issues, and they will be portrayed in a way that shows the most respect for the “Muslim community.”

But remember this: Sharia finance will cost Mr. Osman a lot more money than a low-interest government loan. As a result, he’ll have to labor that many more years to get back into the black.

Is he really that fervent a believer? Or is there another reason?

He says his business “was never about the money”. But if he doesn’t make a profit, how will he feed his family? Besides food stamps, what will help him?

Osman, 41, was among the thousands of Iowans pushed out of their homes and businesses by flooding last month.

He had prepared for the likelihood that about a foot of water would hit his business, hurriedly raising his freezers, refrigerators and everything else a foot off the ground.

However, the Iowa River eventually filled his store with water 8 feet deep, soaking everything for days.

The grocery played a large role in the community.

“I was serving 400 to 500 people from Sudan and other parts of Africa,” Osman said. “It was a small store, but it was important to that community. For the last six years this was the only store surviving in this area for these people.”

A typical MSM approach: a grocery store as a Social Services agency. We know there’s a lot more beyond that at work here. But what is it?

His lawyer has told him the best course may be to declare his businesses bankrupt, but Osman views that as akin to declaring defeat.

“We survived the last six years with little profits,” he said. “This is not about profits.”

OK, I believe that. But what is it about? If it’s not about profits, what is it about? Altruism? Dawa? Why does Osman’s grocery store exist?

These questions need to be asked. All across the Western world the lights are going out, and we are at least obligated to examine the reasons for it.

But don’t expect your media outlets to look into the matter. That’s asking too much.


Dr.D said...

If we must accept this screwball mess, we should tax each of these "sales" at the going sales tax rate, so that there is a hefty penalty for doing business in this manner. This should be entirely within our law, but if we add about 8.75% to each of these transaction or a total of about 17.5% to the cost of the transaction going to the state, I'll bet sharia lending will be a lot less attractive.

Call Me Mom said...

This is just another facet of the proposition that those who embrace lies as a way to advance their own cause cannot be trusted in any other facet of their lives or dealings.

It once again demonstrates the futility of dealing honestly with those to whom lying is "allowed".

Bezzle said...

> But remember this: Sharia finance will cost Mr. Osman a lot more money
> than a low-interest government loan. As a result, he’ll have to
> labor that many more years to get back into the black.

*Exactly* -- which is why I have no problem with western banks offering more expensive types of "loans" to Muslims.

(There is nothing intrinsically unethical about any of this, since there is no coercion anywhere You might as well claim that burka-makers are unethical because radical Muslims buy burkas.)

> Dr. D: "we should tax each of these "sales""...

Who's "we", Dr. D? The US govt, which just sent a $43 million check to the government of Afghanistan?


When the war comes, I'd like to shoot every single tax-promoter *first* (then move on to the Islamofascists and Soros communazis). Those dumb SOBs really are their own worst enemies, and everyone else's too, for that matter.

. said...

More mountains out of molehills from Gates of Vienna. And the "jihad" against Sharia finance is just ridiculous. There's lots to complain about with Islam around the world before we get to this piffle.

I'm sure, Baron, that you are weeping real crocodile tears for the plight of poor Islamics forced by Sharia to pay exorbitant pseudo-interest to avoid real interest, because such transactions are unregulated. Well, the answer is: REGULATE THEM, just as we do interest transactions. Speaking of which, if I am late on my credit card bill my interest rate is pretty usurious, and if I fall to the level of needing a payday loan, and live in one of the states that still allow them, I'll be paying an appallingly usurious rate of several hundred percent for the privilege. But I suspect, Baron, that as a free market sympathizer you are opposed to restrictions on payday and car title loans, as well as restrictions on exorbitant credit card interest. So perhaps you should be opposed to usurious Sharia pseudo-interest too.

As for our Sudanese Jihadi grocery store owner in Iowa, perhaps he is not avoiding the low-interest loan out of fear, or because it might compromise his Cedar Rapids al qaeda cell, but rather out of religious principles. Just like many of the parents of the home-schoolers looking at your site for unbiased news reports (shudder) are avoiding the public schools to prevent their little darlings from learning too much about the Theory of Evolution and other Godless concepts. Just like many Christians in our nation would not only refuse to get an easily-obtainable abortion to end an unwanted pregnancy, but campaign actively to prevent others from obtaining such an abortion.

It's the same situation. But somehow, I'm sure you can find a pseudo-justification to craft a difference in there somewhere.